SWANTON — Veteran’s Memorial Park is about to become a household name in Swanton.
Flat Iron Park is a spot beloved for its beautiful monuments and ideal vicinity to downtown Swanton, but it will soon also be known as Veteran’s Memorial Park to honor the sense of dedication, duty and mission deeply engrained in the soul of Swanton.
“We just keep trying to do more to recognize the veterans,” said former selectboard chair and Navy veteran Joel Clark. “It’s important because as a veteran, it’s very important to those who have served and those who have paid the ultimate price...we’ve lost a lot of lives, a lot of treasure.”
Last week, the Village Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt a Swanton Village Park Ordinance changing the name of the Village’s Flat Iron Park to Veteran’s Memorial Park, a name that corresponds with the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, which was dedicated and renamed in 2018.
The stretch of green was originally named for its shape — a broad triangular swath of grass on which memorials and statues shine, proudly etched with the names of those who have served.
“The name is kind of a natural,” said Swanton Village Manager Reg Beliveau. “Hopefully this year we will be putting up a nice sign that will be visible from Grand Avenue.”
Clark, who is a veteran and whose five children also serve in the military, said the gesture of renaming and dedicating the park would be celebrated by the veterans throughout the area, a place that both Clark and and Beliveau said has a deeply-rooted history in civil service, honoring its veterans, and national pride.
“I think it (the renaming) means a lot,” Clark said. “When you see some of the vets come by and talk about it, their time served — there’s a lot of pride in what they’ve done. It means a lot to them. The more we can do for them and this park, the better it will be.”
Beliveau said that the name “Veteran’s Memorial Park,” had long been the “other name” that locals called Flat Iron Park because of its vicinity to the bridge and its stonework, but come this Memorial Day, the name will be official, serenaded by the traditional rendition of taps and a moment of silence on the route before the village’s Memorial Day parade heads to Lady Liberty to pay their respects.
“We’ve lost over a million conflict in the wars,” Clark said. “To all the veterans, including those who have been injured — our country should never, ever forget them.”